Swolllen abdomen, gurgling noises in tummy, emaciated hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Bocktobery 10, Jan 25, 2015.

  1. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey all,


    Again, I'm here asking for help- Have another chicken - a Rhode island red- who's got a swollen abdomen. It happened very quickly, like the span of 24 hours. She was lethargic before- like a week before- but I thought this was due to the extreme cold weather we were having at that time. Her favorite hen friend- another Rhode island red- that she likes to hang around has been sick with a swollen abdomen for many months now, but is actually doing quite well, moving around and being much more active than before. I don't know if the illnesses are related. I find it strange that the hen in question got so ill so quickly.

    Her symptoms are this:

    Yellowish, watery slimy whitish droppings with bits of green in it (The green I know means she has not been eating- she does eat, and has been but not that much lately)

    Her breastbone is sticking out and she is emaciated. This weight loss also happened very quickly.

    Her abdomen form the end of the breastbone to the vent is very swollen. This grew over the span of about two days. I think it was worse yesterday, but it seems to have gone down some since treating her with Lincomycin. I also gave her 1cc shot of Tylan 50 once a day for two days. I stopped that because I saw that some of her skin is black in the region- I'm not sure if that is from the shot or not.

    Her vent seems obstructed. I put my lubed gloved finger up inside there to feel for an egg- felt nothing like that. The swelling seems outside of the cloaca and is putting pressure on the whole system there. When I put my finger in there, yellowish slimey stuff came out. It didn't smell bad.

    She is about four years old. She stopped laying two years ago. Same with the other hen (her buddy).

    Her comb is of good color- she does have a bit of frostbite at the tips which has been healing over the past days I think due to bringing her inside and also giving her the antibiotics. The comb is red, pliable.

    She did seem interested in drinking the first few days, but now she is more interested in eating. She does eat, but stops. I wormed my flock about 8 weeks ago. They were also dusted for mites at this time.

    She seems to be responding to the antibiotics, but not that much. She is not eating a whole lot, but still is eating when she can. She seems weak. She can't stand on her own due to the swollen abdomen. I'm afraid that if the problem is bacterial (why I'm giving her the antibiotics to try) that by the time the bacteria is cleared she will die from starvation. I'm not sure if the swelling is obstructing her vent or not. I have noticed that she does eliminate a little bit- about as much as she eats. Yesterday she had brown poo- but about a teaspoon full. Mostly it is yellow with a bit of green. She has also eliminated a lot of fluid. It smells funny- I've smelled this scent with all of my hens that died with similar symptoms of a swollen abdomen. It reminds me of the ph being off- like when cats have a urinary tract infection. Sour smell, I guess.

    OH, I should note also that the abdomen does not feel like a water balloon- its more fleshy and hard, but not hard as a rock or anything like that. Its firm. I can't poke my finger into it very far. Her veins are also showing in the skin around this area. It looks very stretched.





    I have one other hen showing signs of illness. A five year old Plymouth Rock. Up until today she was getting along really well, eating, walking about all while being super thin. She was wormed as well, dusted. I have her on the same antibiotic as these other two hens for the past few days. She is not showing signs of improvement but she does eat. She seems like she is putting on weight but it seems as though it only in her back end- I'm worried she is starting to swell just like the other two.

    All my other chickens seem really good. There are two that seem to be going through something like a molt and are a bit skinny. They are younger and still laying.



    I'm concerned that this is a virus rather than bacterial. I free range my flock, so its entirely possible they could eat something bad. The compost pile is their favorite hanging out ground. Most all of my hens that I have lost in the history of my flock died of something similar. Is this just normal chicken disease like liver disease or cancer? Is it normal to loose hens to this sort of thing? I'm worried about Lymphoid leukosis. I don't know much about it.

    I think I may try to do a necropsy if or when this hen dies, but I don't know what I'd be looking for. I will try and take pictures and post if possible.

    Anyone know what might be going on with her?
     
  2. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ***** I forgot to say that there is a lot of GURGLING noises coming from her swelled abdomen. I can even feel it gurgling around when I put my hand around the swelling. I thought this is a big clue. Anyone know what that is?
     
  3. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    bumping
     
  4. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Hi . It sounds like the hen is an internal layer. Hens are prone to that. On necropsy, you find a cup or more of dried yolk. There;s not much you can do. I had one that happened slow. Then I had another that just seemed to develop ascites and 2 days later was dead. The most often reason for internal laying is that it's easy for e.coli to get up and infect the ovary.

    I know speckledhen had a few of her hens die one at a time and had found an abdomen full of dried yolk. Sorry.
     
  5. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Yes, it is from the shot. Nothing you did wrong, it's just happens sometimes with injectable Tylan.

    -Kathy
     
  6. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for your replies casportpony and seminolewind.

    She is still alive. She still can't walk or keep her balance much. There is not much change. She ate one egg scrambled, about a third cup of yogurt and maybe a tablespoon of oats in total yesterday. She did drink about a 1/3 cup of water treated with lincomycin as well. Sometimes her droppings are brown- usually just one poop of the day, but it is still accompanied by the usual- green bits and yellow slime that smells 'off'.

    One thing I have noticed with all of the hens that are showing signs of illness is that their feathers are frayed at the ends. I don't know if that is a symptom of anything or not. Do they need more protein?

    I'm surprised at how many internal layers there are, if that is what this is. Why do older hens die from internal laying if they have stopped laying eggs for a year or so more? I would think that if it stopped (the egg laying business that is) then the hen would be safe from this problem. All of these hens stopped laying a few years ago.

    I find it curious that the 'sister' or 'friend' of the one in question had these same problems and seemed to be on death's door a few months ago, but she now walks around like nothing is wrong. She still has the lump in her abdomen, diarrhea and weight loss, but other than that, if you didn't pick her up to examine her, you would not know that anything is wrong. She does have a pale face though. But really, she gets around like nothing is wrong now, where as three months ago she could not walk without flopping around. ! I am now treating her as well with the lincomycin, but it doesn't seem to be helping them return to their normal self.
     
  7. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    My one hen was "full" and then wasn't and 6 months later was "full" again and died.

    These hens get this because egg laying causes the area between the cloaca and the large intestine becomes floppy from being stretched by eggs, and that allows e. coli to enter, and infects the ovary.

    I've had some have frayed feather tips and it seemed to be that particular breed and hatch at the time. I think it's genetic.
     
  8. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm just updating now.. The hen died on Super Bowl Sunday evening. I was able to do my first necropsy with this hen and I found that it was, what I think is called egg yolk peritonitis. She was filled, absolutely FILLED with yellow egg masses- 3 or 4 to be exact. Every single pocket of this stuff was larger than any of her other organs. I did not recognize what I was looking at when I opened her up. I could not tell if it was organs I was looking at or what. The tube or whatever it was that the egg travels was so filled with egg that the tube was, well, stretching out in parts. I took pictures that I will post here later.. I can't now because I'm in the middle of remodeling the room which holds all my computer stuff, so everything is disconnected. (I'm currently using someone else's computer to write this).

    Such a sad condition. I wonder if this is caused by all the breeding that was done to get a better production bird? It just seems weird to me, but then again I hear this is the #1 cause of death for hens. Is it the same for other birds? So sad, yet she was strong to the end though. I am wondering if it is caused by something hormonal... it seems that just before she died she was starting to transition into a rooster- She was developing spurs and her comb seemed to be larger than it regularly was. She was the type of chicken to fight to be the top hen... so maybe that explains it, but still that last minute changing before her death seems curious to me. Perhaps testosterone can be elevated when a creature is fighting constant pain? ?? Just a guess.

    Anyway, I hope to get those pictures posted. I have two other sick old hens to tend to. The one I feel certain its the same condition as this one, but the other has me stumped. She does not really have the swollen abdomen as the others.

    Thanks everyone for your replies!!
     
  9. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Sorry for your loss and thanks for the update. [​IMG]

    -Kathy
     
  10. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am sorry for your loss :( I have been following this thread for learning purposes as I have two 6 year olds. They still lay eggs here and there, I never know if they have stopped for good or not. I'll be interested in Seminolewind and casportpony's answers to your questions about this possibly being the most probable fate of most old hens :( Thank you for all your symptom postings and again, I 'm sorry about your girl....
     

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